Political Ad Spending Hits Billion Dollar Mark
The Alliance for Better Campaigns tapped the Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG) to survey the top 100 media markets and the results according to Paul Taylor, President of The Alliance for Better Campaigns, were not surprising. “Political Ad spending has been rising at a breakneck pace for a couple of decades. Even if you adjust for inflation, ad spending is quadruple what it was twenty years ago”.
Ads ran from January 1- November 5, and three major groups bought airtime: Candidates running for office, Political parties and issue groups (such as the NRA, AFL-CIO, and the Chamber of Commerce).
The Alliance reported that $995.5 million was spent on television ads in the nation's 100 largest media markets this year — double the $499 million spent in 1998 and an increase of more than 25 percent over the $771 million spent in 2000, a presidential campaign year. New York was the most expensive market by cost of ads sold (81 million), and had the top three stations by cost of ads sold, but New York didn’t crack the top ten with the number of ads sold. Boston led that category with 41,154 ads sold.
The CMAG survey does not include the 111 smaller media markets in the nation — among them cities such as Sioux Falls, SD (market-ranked number 112), Corpus Christi, TX (number 128) and Bakersfield, CA (number 130). Taylor says these smaller, inexpensive media markets were flooded with ads this year. What does this mean? Not only would total industry figures be above the billion-dollar mark, but more importantly, the number of spot ads would skyrocket. Taylor says that ad dollars would only go up about 10-15%, and shudders to think of the actual number of political ads run across all markets.
Exactly how many is 1.5 million spots? Taylor says, “If you sat down right now in front of a television and set out to watch every single political spot that aired this year, and you stuck at it for 40 hours a week and took no vacations, you'd still be watching when Americans went to the polls in 2008.”